Prasna Upanishad (Part-1)- Origin of Created Beings

Mantra 13
ahoraatro vai prajaapatistasyaahareva praano raatrireva rayih praanam vaa ete praskandanti ye divaa ratyaa sa.nyujyante brahmacharyameva tadyadraatrau ratyaa sa.nyujyante || 13||

Day and night, verily, are  Prajapati. Of these, day is the life, Prana and night, the matter, Rayi. Those  who join in sexual enjoyment by day verily waste their life; while those who do  so during the night are to be considered celibate (Brahmachari).

Prajapati further manifests himself as day which is prana, energy and the  night which is rayi, matter. Those who indulge in sense pleasure during the  day, which is the time for hard work, really waste their own life. This mantra visualizes  that there is some appropriate time for every type of activity, be it worldly  or spiritual. It means that this kind of self-control is as good as celibacy.

Mantra 14

annam vai prajaapatistato ha vai tadretastasmaadimaah prajaah prajaayanta iti || 14||

Food, verily, is Prajapati.  From that comes semen; from semen are all these creatures born.

In answer to the question regarding the origin of created beings, the  biological explanations of life is given in this mantra. Before this, the  teacher had described the various stages through which Prajapati himself had  seemingly passed through to become the pluralistic world.

These stages of manifestation of Prajapati are as follows:

But the irony is that we do not realize that we are Prajapati.

Life is present in all stages of creation, though the tangible form of  manifestation is seen in living creatures. The description of Northern and  Southern Paths shows that the present life is not the first life of the  embodied soul and that life is without beginning and so too the embodied soul.  Existing from a beginningless past the soul passes through one cycle after  another and obtains Liberation only through knowledge of its identity with  Brahman. Thus creation is but a delusion of the mind and there is nothing that  has really risen up from the Eternal Reality.


Mantra 15

tadye ha vai tat.h prajaapativratam charanti te mithunamutpaadayante | teshhaamevaishha brahmaloko yeshhaam tapo brahmacharyam yeshhu satyam pratishhtitam.h || 15||

Those, therefore, who observe this  rule of Prajapati beget a pair. But Brahmaloka belongs to those who observe  austerity and chastity and in whom truth is firmly established.

Referring to the householders who follow the restraints regarding healthy  moral habits about observing self-discipline, who practice austerity,  abstinence, and truthfulness, who follow the example of Prajapati, this mantra  says that they will beget a pair i.e. a son and a daughter and that Brahmaloka  is for such people alone from where they return to earth after exhaustion of  their merits.

Mantra 16

teshhaamasau virajo brahmaloko na yeshhu  jihmamanritam na maayaa cheti || 16||

The pure Brahmaloka belongs to  those in whom there is no crookedness, no falsehood, and no deception.

Such Brahmaloka belongs to them alone who are free from deceit, hypocrisy  and pride. Taking together the previous mantra, this mantra provides an ideal  scheme of living wherein both worldly and spiritual progress can be achieved.  Regular meditation, intelligent self-control, a spirit of truthfulness,  avoidance of crookedness and falsehood and hypocrisy are sure to take any  spiritual seeker stage by stage up the ladder of enlightenment. This Brahmaloka  is not be confused with Liberation. Liberation can be attained by those who  take to the path of renunciation.

It is interesting to note that there is no mention here of performing any  special rituals nor is there any mention of worshipping a certain deity. We are  not asked to pray or to repeat any mantras. We are simply told to be pure,  honest and straightforward. Swami Vivekananda therefore stated that religion is  in being and becoming pure and spotless.


The question that we started with was “Where did all these beings come from?”  The answer given by the teacher was that all the created beings have originated  from Prajapati who manifested himself into many. The many objects we observe in  the universe are all really one, which can be classified into two viz. the  cause and the effect, Prana and Rayi, life and sustenance of life and the food  and its eater. This apparent duality is the visible characteristic of the world  which we are able to observe and experience.
iti prashnopanishhadi prathamah prashnah ||


We shall take up the Second  Question next time.


Receive Site Updates